Five key holes

No. 3: 451 YARDS, PAR FOUR

The third straight par-four to start off, the elevated tee here provides a good view of what is about to come.

The hole normally plays down-wind, but if the wind direction changes, this can quickly become a monster.

No. 6: 499 YARDS, PAR FOUR

This left-to-right dog-leg has been the hardest hole on the course during each of the last two Opens played at Birkdale.

Competitors who can hit their tee shot in the landing area between the bunkers will be left with an approach of around 200-220 yards into a green, which sits above the fairway and angles slightly from left to right.

Three bunkers guard the approach to the putting surface. Just making par is a huge test and Padraig Harrington bogeyed this hole in his first two rounds in 2008 before going on to lift the Claret Jug.

No. 12: 183 YARDS, PAR THREE

The first short hole on the back nine, the 12th is well protected with deep bunkers and banks of rough grass guarding both sides of a green built into a sand dune.

A pin position in the back right-hand corner would leave a very tough shot into the breeze.

No. 16: 438 YARDS, PAR FOUR

A long carry over rough terrain to a narrow fairway protected by two bunkers on the right is required.

The elevated green is protected by five deep bunkers, so pin-point accuracy is needed.

No.17: 567 YARDS, PAR FIVE

There are only two par-fives, the 15th and the 17th, which played as the easiest hole on the course in 2008.

It is an easy birdie chance and possibly even an eagle opportunity.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2017, with the headline 'Five key holes'. Print Edition | Subscribe